Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, Alleluia – for the Lord is truly Risen, Alleluia!
As your child, I run to you, Mother Mary, to tell you of my joy – our dearest Jesus rose from the dead, He is really alive! Although you share my exuberant joy, you are not surprised. After all, Jesus had told us that it would happen this way. The Son of Man would be handed over. He would be crucified, and on the third day He would rise from the dead.
I wonder, dearest Mother, what that Sunday morning was like for you. We know the stories, how Jesus appeared to the women, how the tomb was empty, how He came to them in the Upper Room. I wonder if He came to you too – maybe even before anyone else saw Him, as some traditions tell us. I imagine how you woke up early that morning, the images from the crucifixion still fresh on your mind. How you went outside the house in order not to wake up John and the others who sought refuge in your motherly presence during those days. The air was still cool, the stars still shining and on your lips was again that song that you first sang, O Mary, when you received Jesus in your womb. My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord… and suddenly you hear steps that are all too familiar. Steps that fan into flame the hope that you have kept in your heart there at Calvary. Could it be Him? Could it be your beloved Jesus? Before you can finish the thought, you hear His voice, “Mother!” Tears of joy and relief run down your cheeks. It is Jesus. He is truly risen, as He said He would!
“(Jesus said to them) ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.’ And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” (Acts 1, 8-9)
After forty days, Jesus ascended into heaven to take His seat at the right hand of the Father, to prepare a place in heaven for me. You see the mystery unfold before you, dearest Mother Mary. Jesus died, He rose and now He ascends into heaven. You might not understand the meaning of all this but as you did throughout your entire life, you trusted in the Father and in His wonderful will. “They went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James and Simon and Judas. They devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus.“ Now you enter into a special time together with the Apostles, a time of waiting for the promised Spirit. You already know this Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, the Fire of His Love, the Consolation from on High, so well. But during the days before Pentecost, you too, Mary, became a consolation from the Father – a consolation for the disciples who had to learn what it meant that Jesus would be with them until the close of age, even if they could not see Him with their bodily eyes. Your face became like an icon to them in which they could see Jesus. Your features, O Mother, and His were so much alike, and looking into your loving eyes, they could see your Son.
The Descent of the Holy Spirit on Our Lady and the Apostles
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.” (Acts 2, 1-3)
I imagine the joy that filled your heart, dearest Mother, as you watched the Holy Spirit descend upon the apostles. You knew Him, you were so accustomed and attuned to His movements and His presence within you. You could deeply receive the gift that was given in the Upper Room that day. And as a good mother you were overjoyed to see your children receive that same gift in that hour. The Holy Spirit not only came upon the apostles, but also upon you. He had overshadowed you so many years ago on the day of the Annunciation and made more room for Him in your soul every day since then. Every small FIAT, no matter how small, created more space within you, and I can’t even imagine what is taking place in your soul now as the Holy Spirit fills every part of your being. In your deep humility you receive Him, and you praise God for His immeasurable goodness that He reveals on this day of Pentecost.
The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, Body and Soul
“Father, they are Your gift to Me. I wish that where I am, they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that You gave Me, because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (Jn. 17, 24)
Many years have passed since Jesus returned to the Father. Some traditions have it that you, dearest Mother, were 72 years old when you were assumed into heaven. A life of quiet fidelity to the demands of each day now opens up to the glory of eternity. How you must have longed for that day, and how much you must have missed your beloved Son Jesus. But the Father wanted you as the Mother for the newborn Church and so you remained. A mother teaches her children how to live, and now you teach them and me, how to die. You leave this world with a heart full of trust and surrender, knowing that the hand of the Father is there, holding you and lifting you up to Himself. The Litany of “Fiats” that was the song throughout your entire life now becomes a door to heaven, where you enter, body and soul, into the eternal embrace of God.
The Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven and Earth
Heaven is silent as you, Mother Mary, approach the throne of God the Father. Today you are being crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Jesus is there at the Father’s side. St. Joseph, Sts. Joachim and Ann, the Angel Gabriel and all the angels, prophets, martyrs and apostles are present. The Father beholds you as you come towards Him. He smiles at you and as you kneel before Him, you bury your face in His hands. Very gently He places a crown on your head and in that moment, the joy in heaven knows no end. Heaven is open to us, the angels rejoice, the Father has received His beloved children back and your yes, dearest Mother, to the plan of Salvation now resounds throughout creation. You are now the Queen of Heaven and Earth – a Queen who knows the tears of her children, a Queen who stoops down and lifts up those who are entrusted to her. You are the Star of the Ocean that leads me into the Kingdom of our Father, a Star so bright that no darkness can cloud your radiance. Therefore, dearest Mother Mary, I entrust to you my life, and I take refuge in your Immaculate Heart. It will be the way that leads me to God.
Sr. Fidelis, CFR